Nurses as Immigrant Advocates: A Brief Overview

Mary Ellen Biggerstaff, DNP, MSN, RN, FNP; Taiyyeba Safri Skomra, JD


Online J Issues Nurs. 2020;25(2) 

In This Article

Clinic and Systems Level

In addition to the individual level, it is important to address inequalities at the community and systems levels. In your community, become familiar with local organizations and other institutions that work with immigrant populations. They can provide other opportunities for advocacy, and may provide useful services to your patients.

For example, at the healthcare organization level, work to understand existing policies and structures in place to address systematic inequalities and racism. One tool to help address these systematic inequalities is the Cultural and Linguistic Standards created by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (DHHS, 2019). These standards outline what every system should provide for their minority patients, including:

  • A quality, easy to use interpreter system that is readily available to all staff. Work towards training all staff being trained in the use of this system

  • Assess how your system partners with the local immigrant community

  • Perform outreach to community organizations

  • Encourage your organization to create immigrant focus groups or targeted marketing

  • Work to add the CLAS standards into your strategic plan

  • Help create policies in your organization to ensure safety of immigrants in your hospital system

Other helpful practices that healthcare professionals can implement in their clinics are available at National Immigration Law Center (2017).